Help! Allen Carr’s Book Didn’t Work for Me!

John C. Dicey
11 min readMay 14, 2021


My shame of not “getting” the Easyway the first time.

This is quite a long, rambling read, but if you’ve failed to stop smoking with Allen Carr’s Easyway, please do read this. I’m sure that you’ll find it useful (& there are details of the free of charge support that we offer all book readers).

I had the good fortune to be saved from my life as a chain-smoker by Allen Carr and his brilliant Easyway method. I was even luckier to enjoy the privilege of working closely with him after he took me under his wing to train as an Allen Carr therapist.

As an 80-a-day smoker walking into that seminar room in south west London in 1997 I had no idea it would change my life in such a profound and significant way. Not just in terms of the length, quality, and enjoyment of my future life — free from nicotine addiction — but with regard to the opportunity that eventually presented itself to me; to be able to dedicate the rest of my life to helping other smokers to freedom.

One of my favourite photos of Allen

As you can imagine, I was incredibly nervous meeting Allen for the first time as part of the recruitment process and even more so throughout my initial training. He put me at ease quickly and over the following years we continued his mission to help as many smokers in as many countries as is possible. We wanted to cure the world of smoking.

Eventually, having helped Allen with books applying the method to alcohol and fear of flying the mantle was passed to me. I was tasked with ensuring that the stop smoking method kept track of the changes in smoker behaviour, changes in the kind of nicotine/tobacco products available, as well as pushing ahead with extending the reach of the method to addictions and issues as varied as gambling, cocaine, cannabis, sugar, emotional eating, vaping, junk-spending/debt, and even caffeine and technology addiction (ably assisted, I should add, by a brilliant team of Allen Carr colleagues including Cris Hay, Colleen Dwyer, Sam Carroll, Sue Bolshaw, Sam Kelser, and Monique Douglas — along with our brilliant publishing team including the great Tim Glynne-Jones).

My first love, my deepest sense of mission, was initially towards helping smokers to quit. I was embarrassed that it took me so long to “get” Allen Carr’s Easyway method. I’d read the book and it all made sense — but for some reason I simply didn’t stop smoking. It wasn’t until after I attended a live group seminar that the penny finally dropped.

When I became involved with the publishing side of the organization, eventually, reluctantly & embarrassingly accepting the label of co-author (it really is all Allen’s work) I wanted to look at all kinds of ways of helping smokers, to “get it”, via the power of the written word.

I was acutely aware that not everyone had the means or opportunity to attend a live group seminar (the most effective way of using the method).

I was also aware that people have varying degrees of reading ability & preference of style. Most people can obviously read, but some react better to “wordy” books (without any need for aids such as illustrations or recaps), others prefer to read a systematic kind of text (laid out perhaps with bullet points and text boxes), others dislike, or can’t, or won’t read “wordy” books and prefer a lighter style of writing (perhaps with some illustrations & diagrams).

One of the most beautiful aspects of the human race is that we all have different abilities & different strengths — taking those into account helps us reach our full potential

As brilliant as the original version of the book was (and remains) making the method available in a variety of different ways, to take into account all the different types of readers, was a genuine labour of love for me.

It wasn’t just a case of updating the method, it was shaping it, putting it into different formats, different styles of presentation, and on different platforms.

The NUMBER ONE way of taking on board Allen Carr’s Easyway method is to attend a live group seminar and anyone who has a chance to do so — definitely should. For those who can’t, or simply will not, it should be apparent that we have moved heaven and earth to make the method in written form as effective, as accessible, and as wide-reaching as possible.

The advice to a smoker who failed to quit with the book should never, ever be, “Simply, read the book again”.

We created “Quit Cards” with a mini-book (I QUIT!), a manga-style comic book and parent guide designed to prevent youngsters taking up smoking in the first place (Smoking Sucks), a special book for “emergent readers” (Quick Reads), an illustrated version with brilliant, therapeutically sound scenarios laid out with the input of the wonderful Bev Aisbett (“The Illustrated Easyway” books for smoking, alcohol, sugar addiction etc), special editions for female readers (the “For Women” series), super-short mini-versions (the Little Book of Quitting), textbook/workbook versions for people who like to work through text and fill in thoughts and feelings on the page themselves (Allen Carr’s Personal Stop Smoking Plan), 4 day programmes (Allen Carr’s Quit Smoking Boot Camp), apps, Ubisoft games designed for the Nintendo DS platform (My Stop Smoking Coach) a braille version (with the Royal National Institute for the Blind — UK), and we blazed a trail as pioneers of audiobook publishing and Online Video Programmes.

Not only that, but we regularly updated, upgraded, and refreshed a whole host of our stop smoking titles as well as all the titles that address so many other addictions and issues.

The most up to date, cutting edge version of the book is available now and should be the “go to” choice for anyone who has failed to quit smoking but can’t afford to attend one of our live group seminars (now available worldwide via Zoom).

The most up to date, cutting edge version of the book is available now!

I’m sure that you can imagine how frustrating it is to see smokers who “don’t get” the method the first time, thinking, “I need to read the book again. And again. And again”.

Persistence and determination is well-intentioned and admirable — but it’s important to use all the tools at your disposal.

It is possible to hammer a nail into a piece of wood with a flip flop but it’ll take ages, you might give up out of sheer frustration, and, more importantly, wouldn’t it be easier to simply use a hammer?

We’ve gone out of our way to ensure that anyone who doesn’t have access to a live group seminar has the most up to date, cutting edge, accessible versions of the method in written form. And we continue to provide free of charge support and advice to anyone who reads the book without success.

I’m not for a moment suggesting that someone who failed to quit with one book should automatically try again with one of the more up to date books — we’re always happy to provide the free of charge advice mentioned above even in the event that the reader wants to simply read the same book again. What I am saying though, is that it would be completely unethical for us NOT TO highlight the different ways of revisiting the method using the more up to date versions of the books, the online video programme, or the live seminars.

If you were suffering with a terrible disease and the treatment the doctor prescribed wasn’t quite working — how would you feel if they suggested you just continue with the treatment you’ve been having whilst failing to bring to your attention the original, most powerful & effective, clinically proven, upgraded, & improved version of that treatment?

With our Live Group Seminars now available worldwide via Zoom — it’s never been easier to stop smoking.

Sometimes the information simply needs to be presented in a slightly different way…because we’re all different…and that is the strength of our Live Group Seminars hosted by our Top Gun Allen Carr’s Easyway Therapist/Facilitator teams worldwide. Sometimes people need a little extra help to finally “get” the method and whether they read the same book again, or try a new one, or try the online video programme or a live group seminar — the free of charge advice and guidance we offer maximises their chances of success.

“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein


Four years ago –my daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia, and visual stress. Frustratingly, she was only diagnosed after she took important exams at school, aged 16. She’s a bright, lovely, inspirational, hard-working, and determined young lady & has succeeded in getting to university and is on schedule to fulfil her lifetime’s ambition; to be a primary school teacher. I know I’m biased, but I’m certain that she’ll be an absolutely brilliant teacher. People who have had to battle through life with learning difficulties often are.

I only mention this, because it relates directly to my initial difficulty “getting” Allen Carr’s Easyway method and my subsequent determination to help deliver the method in different ways, to different types of learners over the past 23 years.

Four years ago, when my wife was explaining how my daughter’s learning difficulties manifested themselves, I was flummoxed, “That’s how it is for everyone isn’t it?”, I said. My wife and daughter looked at me knowingly, and I was (willingly) packed off, aged 51, to be assessed for learning difficulties. The tests took half a day and the wonderful lady who conducted them, who had previously assessed my daughter, was incredible. She changed my entire perception of myself.

I had a difficult time at school. I enjoyed it, I had great friends (most of whom I still have), but I just didn’t get on that well. I did, “OK”. It never occurred to me that there might be a reason that I’d drift off into dreamland 3 minutes into a lesson that I loved — and end up entirely lost by the time my mind “returned to earth”.

I say “dreamland” but to be more accurate, I would hear interesting things in the lesson, begin to think deeply about them, drift off into my own thoughts and imaginings, whilst completely losing track of the content of the rest of the lesson. I’d always been an excellent reader — but I never really enjoyed it — it took me longer to take things in. I found learning things, any things, difficult. I couldn’t wait to leave school and get out into the world of work where, it transpired, after a few years of finding my feet, I seemed to excel.

The wonderful lady who assessed me, diagnosing me with Dyslexia, “Developmental Co-ordination Disorder”, “Severe Visual Processing Issues”, and “Specific Learning Difficulty” was so generous with her time and walked me through how, over the years, I had developed and adapted skills and strategies to make up for all of the above.

While I was doing the tests I was thinking of the senior school version of myself and how I’d be looking at the exercises and tasks I was being put through now without a clue of how to proceed. I know I would have simply given up trying.

Whether someone is diagnosed early or late, they normally learn to persevere, and battle, and struggle — and with time and diligence they learn a wonderful truth:

Whatever it is that’s presented to me MUST be possible to understand. It just takes time.

It’s kids who don’t get that insight that become entirely lost…it’s so easy to abandon hope if you’re convinced you just can’t do it.

Learning and developing skills, without even realizing it, you find yourself working harder, for longer, often at a frustratingly slow pace, to arrive at a correct answer.

I don’t know about you but I enjoy a correct answer that takes a while over an incorrect one that arrives in moments.

Getting the right answer is the important thing — but the need for people with learning difficulties to often look at things from an entirely different angle, often many different angles — soon becomes a tremendous strength. It’s a matter of processing information differently.

Thank goodness I had a chance to do that at an Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking Live Group Seminar. I could have read the book a thousand times without achieving the tiniest nugget of success and become resigned to the life of a smoker.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not for a moment suggesting that anyone who doesn’t “get” the method first time has some kind of learning issue…I’m just saying that being willing to look at the method in a different way worked for me, that as an organization we’ve made it possible for everyone to do that, and that the worst advice anyone could give a book reader who fails to quit with the method is, “Just read the book again”.

The three entirely different seminars that make up the Live Group Seminar programme explore every element of nicotine addiction, from every conceivable angle, to ensure the smoker’s success. It remains, without doubt, the most effective way of experiencing the method.

For those who can’t or won’t attend a live group seminar — the free of charge advice we provide to book readers who just want to try again with the same book will maximise their chances of success. Even better if they are able to afford the newer, upgraded versions of the book.

The global team of Allen Carr’s Easyway Therapists/Facilitators who present our live group seminars deliver the most cutting edge, up to date, most effective, easy to take on board version of the method regardless of what kind of learning ability or differences you might have. You get all the right information, in the right way, for you. You’re in the safest of hands.

Reach out.

You can find out more about Allen Carr’s Easyway here

You can find out more about Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking Live Group Seminars here

From the desk John C. Dicey, London, England.





Press & Media

Hey! While you’re here — please do sign up to Medium and follow me — I’m not 100% sure of where this project will go — but some followers might help — thanks :-)



John C. Dicey

Former 80-a-day smoker who was freed by Allen Carr. Now Global CEO & Senior Therapist at Allen Carr’s Easyway (since 1998) & co-author of Allen Carr books.